It's late and I'm sitting on the porch, out back, in a faded wicker chair whose cushion has seen better days. It's still warm out, I can hear the crickets talking to each other.
I have on pajama pants, faded and soft, there's a hole in the left leg where I got caught on the bushes once on my way to the garage before Francisco cut the shrubs down to a stump. My long-sleeved T-shirt doesn't match, but it's soft, too, spent a lot of nights with me. Everything is quiet, except the crickets and occassionally a plane overhead to remind me I'm in Los Angeles, I'm in a city of millions and being alone is a luxury, or chance, or just the way it is right now.
It's not like last year. I don't feel so deliberately unloved, so unknown to myself. Tomorrow will be my thirty-fifth birthday, again I'll spend the night alone and wake up with a cat on my pillow, another day to look in the mirror and see myself, lonely eats breakfast with you and brushes your teeth alongide you and cleans the catbox. But it doesn't define you, any more than being divorced defines you, and people say, "Get over it," and you are 'over it' in that sense. You are now just a woman, a lady with a life however small and messy, and you wonder if it's such a bad quality that you sift through things and sit with them, know them, smell them, write them down in too many words and drink cava while an airplane overhead takes travellers to New York, or maybe Zurich, or maybe Cleveland.
God, it's something to have such freedom! The luxury to think about a thing. The luxury to sit on your back porch and and listen to crickets, stay all in one piece. Just yesterday I found out that my husband, ex-husband, had remarried. One month after our divorce. He and his betrothed registered for gifts (including one "fiesta red chip and dip platter" thank you) and had a wedding in January and he walked down the aisle, said "I love you 'til death do us part" to another, his wife Number Two, before I had even begun dating again. Before I had even fully regrouped, he was remarried, had re-enlisted, needed someone to wash his socks? Doesn't matter now. I spent a few hours feeling forgettable, wondering how it was that I became interchangeable. Then I walked outside in mismatched pajamas and heard the crickets, and I am nobody's wife, nobody's responsibility but my own.
And I can handle that.
I will get a pedicure tomorrow, and drink coffee in bed, and clean the catbox, and lonely is temporary, and I am the sort of person who sits with things, feels them writes them knows them, and washes my own socks. And you get over things your own way, and God, thank you for the empty patio. Thank you for letting me turn thirty five. Parts of me are like this very cushion and have seen better days, but parts of me know there are so many better days to come. Even if there will likely be a cat sitting on top of them.